Advice on how to introduce a cost-effective flexitarian diet

With groceries becoming more expensive due to the current cost of living crisis, everyone is trying to cut back on spending and cut costs where they can.

When it comes to food, the pandemic has greatly inspired us all to cook more at home and as a result individuals have been able to save a little more by not eating out as much.

In an attempt to reduce overall spending, many are skipping meals and their morning coffee at cafes, and some are even checking their shopping cart to see where they’re saving.

The general price of groceries has increased by 20-50%, but this cost can only be avoided by wise shopping.

Food prices are increasing every day.

Vegetarian and vegan diets require buying lots of fruits and vegetables, as well as lots of nuts, legumes, and other things like meat alternatives, which can sometimes prove costly.

While meat eaters will be more likely to spend on fresh poultry, meat and seafood.

For those who like meat, a flexitarian diet may be worth considering as it gives you the opportunity to continue enjoying meat while eating plenty of vegetables, which will lighten your bank balance a bit.

What is a flexitarian diet?

A flexitarian diet is when a person follows a vegetarian or vegan diet but does not completely eliminate the consumption of meat products.

The level at which this is followed is entirely individual, with some people only eating meat on weekends or away from home.

A balanced diet and the inclusion of all elements is important.

With this shift, many followers of the diet will consume lentils, beans, peas, nuts and seeds to ensure they are getting the protein they need.

And since many of these foods are available in large quantities at a significantly lower price than premium meat products, the raw materials can be used over longer periods and have a longer shelf life.

Once the food is cooked, it also lasts longer in the fridge than meat dishes, meaning it can be prepared ahead of time for meals.

Tips on how to become a flexitarian

According to Healthline, the following principles can help to implement a balanced diet:

  • Consume mostly whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes
  • Focusing on protein from plant sources rather than animal
  • Add meat from time to time as an additional source of protein
  • Eat less processed foods and consume them in their natural form
  • Limit added sugar and sweets

According to the NHS, this type of diet is very sustainable as long as energy levels are maintained by the necessary levels of protein, carbohydrates and fats from a variety of plant sources.

Why not try working towards a flexible diet to see if the cost of your weekly groceries differs from your usual?

Let me know in the comments if you’ve noticed a difference in the cost of your purchase and how you feel after eating more meatless products.


Mariam Okhai is a food and beverage journalist who also researches eating behaviors.

She has a Masters in Behavioral Science for Management from the University of Stirling. Her bachelor’s degree was in psychology and business administration with marketing.

She is also a certified habit trainer.

You can learn more about her research on her Behavioral Foodie website.

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[Advice on how to adopt a cost effect flexitarian diet]

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